Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Fathers Day Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2014

I suppose if it wasn't for GBBD I would barely post at all. So thank you Carol at May Dream Gardens for hosting my monthly reminder.
It has been a relatively slow to bloom spring with alternate warm and cool weather this year. When I began planting my new perennial native bed in late April the temperature extremes fluctuated from 38 to 99 in two days. Now on this fathers day I am concerned about some newly planted natives I just received last week and our planned vacation next week and how they will survive while we're gone. Hopefully my watering fiend neighbor will do a fine job.
Onward with some photos:
Hollyhock in the Veggie Garden.

The entry Cottage Garden.
Cat Pink.
Purple Prairie Clover

Butterfly Milkweed Photo from the Cowley County Wildflower Tour

Happy GBBD!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Sensitive Catclaw

Every month on the last Wednesday, Gail with Clay and Limestone blog shares a meme to provide a place to link our native and wildflower blooms and plants. I'm a little late but I wanted to share this unusual Kansas native, Catclaw Sensitive Plant. 
Mimosa quadrivalvis - Catclaw Sensitive Plant
This plant really isn't too impressive until it blooms these round sparkling blooms. It reminds me of a woodland plant for some reason but it is prevalent in many prairies. I found this plant in a vacant industrial lot that I have derived many natives before.  Kids would be interested as the leaves fold up when touched.
Mimosa quadrivalvis L. var. nuttallii
Height: 1-2 feet tall
Family: Fabaceae - Bean Family
Flowering Period: May-September
Stems: Sprawling, 1-6 feet long, strongly ribbed, covered with hooked pickles.
Leaves: Alternate, stalked.
Inflorescences: Heads, dense, spherical, 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter, talks 1 to 3 inches long, in leaf axis.
Flowers: Numerous, tiny, sessile, pink to lavender, calyces minute, 5-lobed, petals 5, united; stamens 8-12, filaments pink, anthers yellow.
Fruits: Pods, linear, 1 to 5 inches long, strongly ribbed, prickly; seeds namy, nearly square, smooth.
Habitat: Prairies, open woodlands, ravines, and roadsides, most abundant in dry, rocky or sandy soils.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Comments: The leaflets are sensitive to touch and will fold together when disturbed. The tiny flowers are rarely seen due to the overshadowing stamens.
*Information courtesy of Mike Haddock Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses website.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

My love of Spaghetti (Italian)Western movies is quiet evident by inserting a video clip from the Sergio Leone film, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Clint Eastwood became famous starring in many of these films. I'm using the film name as a theme for this blog post.

the Good

Tulips, spreading phlox, and the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) tree are the only plants in full bloom presently. I definitely need to add more tulips in the coming years as I have been extremely pleased with the performance of this variety of tulip. I have used a different planting method to increase performance.
the Bad

You may ask what is bad about this area of the garden. Everything is green and growing, right? Yes, the Allium and Verbascum are doing well. But what is the green vine going gang busters during this cool and late spring? Yes, you probably guessed it, Convolvulus arvensis, Field Bindweed. 
I swear if there ever is evil in the plant world, this one is it. I'm curious how these new Perennial Movement gardens keep these noxious weeds and tree seedlings under control.
The plant in the lower area resembling chrysanthemum leaves is a Kansas native, Ambrosia psilostachya, Western Ragweed. This one snuck in with some native Delphinums I planted. Spreads by rhizomes, very prolific. This one I should be able to dig out with time.

The cool season grass above reminds me a lot of yellow nutsedge in appearance. However its a little early for that lovely weed. I believe this to be an Eragrostis that I planted from seed, and it has spread by rhizomes throughout this part of the garden and into the middle of plants.
the Ugly

Ulmus amercana-American Elm. Whats so ugly you may ask. Those are not new leaves developing on the limbs but clusters of seedheads. Thousands of seeds, there may be a few seedlings coming up in the mulch this year. Pure ugliness.
Former variegated Yucca. Fifteen below temperatures take care of zone envy dreams quickly. Mush ugly.

Big gopher holes?
This photo above shows the movement of six tall grass species in the corner hell strip to increase visibility on that traffic corner.
Before-January 2014
April 16, 2014
No they are not gopher holes, but transplant excavations. I moved a 8' crape myrtle in the first photo. The second photo involved moving Panicum to the photo above (bottom corner). The new construction creates quite a bit of ugliness. Soon the beds will be full of new native plants and everyone will be happy. Lawn Gone as Pam Penick @ Digging would say!
This post coincides with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day  where you can view blooms from all over the world.
Happy gardening!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My new Oudolf/Kingsbury inspired Hellstrip

Yes, inspiration comes less frequently in my middle to late age. However, after reading 'Planting a New Perspective" by Noel Kingsbury and Piet Outdolf , I've been "blown up" with inspiration. The information in this book is very informative for those who have wanted more conceptual information on the "New Perennial Movement". I'm interested to see how all this pans out. I'm sure most of you have read reviews about this book as well as seen many Oudolfs/Kingsbury designed gardens so I won't bore you with more details.
This inspiration has powered me enough to design the unfinished west side hell strip which currently is mostly a Fescue lawn area, a few perennials and last but not least a large Silver Maple (which the wood borers are devouring and will be removed). I got the old canary tracing paper out (yellow dog) and began to sketch over the CAD created base plan. So much fun, it brought back old memories from college and my early professional career, installations during the day and designs at night.
View looking West

View looking East, below.

As you can see soil preparation has began with gravely soil, compost and native fill soil added from all my unfinished garden projects. Yes, I will admit my propensity to start many projects at once, it's just that when you start one project details arise which create new projects. Evidently my perfectionism and artistic mind leads me to many different avenues (rabbit holes)
These are photos of my sketches of the planting plan: first one is the planting plan

Second one is a rendering of flower and foliage color:
So now the next step is to scour the internet for plants and transplant many from existing inventory on hand. Looks like a busy time ahead, hope to have it completed by my 60th birthday this August. Shalom.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Favorite Images from 2013

Les at A Tidewater Garden blog publishes his Top Ten Images of the year this time every year. It gives many of us in the garden blogging realm reason to follow his lead. Go to his blog and leave a comment as well as a link to your own favorite images of the year.
This image of a Cedar Waxwing was taken through a dirty sunroom window in April. A large group of these feeding on Hackberry berries and drinking from the stock tank frequented my viewfinder. The background hue greatly contributed to the harmony of the above photo. The bird looks so majestic in this pose. In other poses they remind me of ornery bandits.

In June, behold my water lily 'Alaska' revealed its first bloom in the stock tank. I painted the bottom of the tank  black to increase the reflection value.

Also in June a visit from my granddaughter and a photo from the front hell strip.

Another June image takes me to a small town Aline, Oklahoma to visit my in-laws during wheat harvest. This old feed store is a very similar site we see in many small rural communities, rural decay. This was taken from my iPhone.

It was a very hot that day, and granddaughter, Mollie the border collie, and I head back to the homestead.

Speaking of the dog days of summer, August with my wife Cindy, adopted grandson Sydney in the shade garden.

August Buckeye butterfly on Liatris ligustylus.

And to close: from September's Monarch migration.

Enjoy and share, Happy New Year to you!
Greggo, and yes this is Kansas, Toto.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Heath Aster-Symphyotrichum ericoides

I haven't posted in nearly two months, and I sleep a lot more than I used too. Ha. I'm afraid my strength is waning as I approach the big six-o. Funny, my mind seems ok. Or at least I think so. It seems with the advent of social media my blog posts have decreased and my social media post have decidedly increased proportionally. I suppose I may be succumbing to the instant gratification. Na! Just lazy.
    Photo above taken October 14
Heath Aster-Symphyotrichum ericoides
This aster is one of our local and state natives. It seems it is quite prevalent throughout the nation . It was not my intention to plant it originally, as this particular aster arrived with a Big Bluestem transplant from a industrial vacant lot. You can vaguely see the seed head of the bluestem above inside the aster. Upon observing the initial growth in the spring I was hesitant to adopt the newly risen treasure. The foliage greatly resembled kochia which I dreaded to pull as a kid in our alley way in Wyoming. I used to call it a tumbleweed, as it had a long taproot which broke off and would blow around and it was impossible to pull out when the ground was dry in summer. But alas I was anxious to observe what growth pattern would evolve.

This photo bove shows two more Heath Aster tag-a-along plants, one came in with Indiangrass and the other with poppy mallow.
The video from myiPhone above was taken in late October, the Heath Aster with all the daisy type blooms was loaded with hundreds of pollinators. My associate gardener enjoyed following the butterflies around him. This aster plant had been trimmed like a hedge twice during the summer, and as you compare this plant to those you see in natural environments it is considerably larger.

Symphyotrichum ericoides   (L. ) G.L. Nesom
[=Aster ericoides L.]
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Height: 1-3 feet
Family: Asteraceae - Sunflower Family
Flowering Period:   September,October
Also Called: White aster, many-flowered aster.
Stems: Ascending or erect to almost prostrate, few to many, often clustered, slender, stiff, much-branched, rough hairy above.
Leaves: Alternate, simple, sessile or slightly clasping, linear to linear-lanceolate, 1/2 to 2 inches long, less than 1/4 inch wide, rigid, rough; margins entire; tips pointed; branch leaves much smaller and crowded; most basal and lower stem leaves absent at flowering.
Inflorescences: Panicles of numerous, densely crowded heads, primarily on 1 side of arching branches.
Flowers: Heads cylindric to bell-shaped, less than 1/2 inch across; bracts strongly overlapping, tipped with bristles; ray florets 10-18, white or rarely pinkish; disk florets 5-14, corollas yellowish to reddish purple.
Fruits: Achenes, small, appressed-hairy, purplish brown, tipped with white, hair-like bristles, enclosing small, silky seed.
Habitat: Dry open prairies, disturbed sites, pastures, and roadsides.
Distribution: Throughout Kansas.
Toxicity: Known to accumulate selenium, but livestock rarely consume it.
Comments: This is the most common Kansas aster. It grows in colonies and is drought hardy, with roots that descend 3 to 8 feet. Heath aster is one of the last plants to remain in flower in the autumn. Heath aster lowers the quality of prairie hay.*

 Obviously this plant has a place in any Native Garden. Check it out!

*All plant information above taken from from the KState Library.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Monarch Happiness

This Monarch has been around for a couple of weeks. I'm sure it was born(?) in the garden. So pure and unblemished.
Two to three days later my son was visiting and noticed a "worm" moving along our back retaining wall. I looked closer and saw that it was a Monarch caterpillar. Say what? Well of course all my milkweeds were planted in the front and side gardens. This is the first time I've seen larva feeding on Honeydew milkvine. Finally there is a reason for Honeydew Milkvine, one of the worse noxius weeds in the garden. Amazing. Soon I moved them to the Swamp Milkweed. A few days after that I found a chrysalis on a plant tray, not far from the same spot.